Apple Returns Fire At Commbank Chief Over Apple Pay
Apple has excoriated Commonwealth Bank CEO Matt Comyn over what it labels as “misleading and false” comments made about Apple Pay before a parliamentary joint committee.
In a statement made to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services’ inquiry into mobile payment and digital wallet financial services in late July, Comyn claimed Apple Pay had an 80 per cent share of digital wallet payments and called for regulation of the service as a payment system.
“It’s highly unlikely that anyone could successfully compete with Apple’s market position with an 80 per cent share at the moment, but without access to the NFC [near field communications], it’s simply not even possible to have a competing service,” he said.
However, in a broadside against Comyn as part of a submission entitled The facts about Apple Pay, Apple said its payment service had only a 10 per cent share of all credit and debit card spend in Australia, and its high usage among Commonwealth Bank customers was a result of consumer preferences for its “convenience, security and privacy”.
“The misleading 80 per cent figure shared initially by Commonwealth Bank and cited in future dialogue and media reports does not represent Apple Pay’s share of any market. It is simply the percentage of Apple Pay transactions from Commonwealth Bank’s overall digital wallet payments at point of sale.
“This is unsurprising given that Commonwealth Bank CEO Matt Comyn stated publicly in October 2019 that launching Apple Pay was the number one customer request when he asked customers what he should prioritise when he was appointed into his role,” the company said.
The Australian Retailers Association has also weighed in on Apple Pay, with CEO Paul Zahra saying in a May submission that Apple’s restrictions on its NFC technology give retailers “no choice” but to use Apple’s own systems for contactless transactions using Apple technology.
“This prevents or at least severely restricts the potential for new payments innovations which can be used by retailers and consumers.
“With about half of Australian consumers using Apple iPhones, retailers are directly limited in their ability to develop new payments solutions for their customers, such as streamlining payments within a single app that might link customer loyalty programs, coupon redemption, or additional future innovations to enhance the customer experience in a ‘single tap’,” he said.
Apple claims that far from being anti-competitive as Comyn and Zahra say, Apple Pay in fact promotes competition.
“When developing Apple Pay, Apple chose a unique architecture to enable consumers to easily switch between cards issued by different banks whilst a) still supporting contactless payments initiated from third party apps and b) enabling non-payment uses of NFC technology such as car keys, loyalty, access to events, tickets and health insurance cards.
“Apple’s pro-competitive technical architecture provides consumers, merchants and developers with greater choice, supporting cards and use cases from thousands of providers,” it says.
Apple has also warned that opening up access to its NFC technology would risk third parties exploiting resulting security threats.